How to feed a spayed or neutered dog

Written by Zoe Russell BSc (Hons)

Nutrition Officer, Skinner’s

Lots of owners choose to spay or neuter their dog, whether it be for health reasons, lifestyle choices, or to avoid producing un-planned litters of puppies! This procedure will ultimately change the reproductive status of a dog and may also have effects on their behaviour and social interactions. However, it can also affect a dog’s nutritional demands, meaning owners often have to make dietary adjustments to suit their newly spayed or neutered dog.

Does spaying or neutering affect a dog’s weight?

After the procedure, their energy requirements will change; more specifically, they will decrease. This is because neutering is usually carried out in a young dog, around the same time their growth and energy needs will naturally decrease. In addition, reproductive hormones are recognized to have an influence on the metabolism and food intake, however after spaying, hormone production is interrupted which can therefore influence eating behaviours and weight gain.

Dogs may also become less active after neutering or spaying, especially if they are recovering from the surgery and are limited in how much exercise they can do. As a result, these changes can be problematic as spaying and neutering has been closely linked with the occurrence of weight gain and obesity.

Managing a dog’s weight after being spayed or neutered

To help manage their weight, we recommend weighing their food using accurate, calibrated scales to reduce the likelihood of over-feeding (or even under-feeding!). In addition, if a dog has been spayed or neutered, we recommended reducing their daily intake by a further 10% from the guideline daily amount. It’s also important to make sure you aren’t supplementing more than 10% of their daily intake with other foods, treats and titbits, as this can overshoot the nutritional balance of the diet and further encourage unwanted weight gain. As well as this, after giving them appropriate time to recover from their surgery, make sure they stay appropriately fit and active – after all, a healthy weight is affected not just by diet, but by lifestyle too!

Using our online feeding guide?

If you are using our free online feeding guide and have confirmed your dog has been spayed or neutered, then the guide will automatically reduce the recommended daily feeding amounts by 10%. If however you are using the guidelines on our bags or cartons and your dog has been spayed or neutered, then we suggest taking 10% off the recommended amount.

Contact us

If you would like any advice about your dog’s food, then please contact our nutrition team at [email protected] and we would be more than happy to help.

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